Sunday, April 10, 2011

APOCALYPSE NOW?

I'm a big fan of the post-apocalyptic future genre. I like rough, gritty characters, and stories characterized by chronic shortages of essentials and the perseverance of morality in the midst of crumbling civilization.

I also enjoy the dystopian futures where either the government has restructured the world to contribute to its nefarious goals, or mankind is hiding and fighting against some big nasty: annihilating aliens; computers burdened with blissfully single-minded superiority complexes; zombies; and vampires?
Post-apocalyptic and dystopian books and movies are high stakes affairs. Every decision or refusal to make a decision has life or death consequences. There are sterling moments of humor, iron-strong ties between characters, and really bad Bad Guys. Self-sacrifice is a repeating theme and, honestly, that never gets less compelling. The settings are amazing, emotionally evocative by themselves. Burnt-out landmarks, charred children's toys, rusting razor wire. (Fire and oxidation apparently run rampant in these futures.)

Probably the only reason I can read or watch such stories without running, screaming, from my seat is because I know them to be works of fiction. But every once in awhile, I come across a true story that makes me wonder if we're closer to these fictional situations than we know.

This one caught my attention today. It's not a situation of urgent peril like the ongoing nuclear disasters in Japan. In fact it seems static, almost benign, in comparison. But it's also borderline terrifying. Farm families are being displaced. Farmland is being destroyed. Natural resources are gobbled up and twisted into place, only to be let immediately to decline.

I know I could probably find examples of such programs being perpetrated in my own country, but the sheer scale of this operation is what I find most astounding. It's the impudent hatchling that ate an entire country. It reminds me, frankly, of Science Fiction stories where some mega-corp builds up this or that planet or orbital and then abandons it.

So what, dear readers, will happen next? I've got two dollars on idyllic young families being moved it at no cost, followed by a zombie spider outbreak.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, that's fascinating! In all my post-apocalyptic visions the towns are generally ruins. This is so much creepier, and scary that's it happening in real life. There's a whole Marie Celeste vibe to it.

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  2. It's completely bizarre, all that wasted potential, and the misguided optimism.

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